Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Horrors of Socialized Medicine

Warning, this information may be disturbing to you.

So for all of the political upheaval about health care in the US.  I thought I would share a bit of our experiences with socialized health care.  It might disturb you because so far we have NOTHING but good things to say about the care we have received while living in England.

This post comes from our most recent experience which happened on Monday the 14th Anna had an allergic reaction after eating some Chinese food.  She started coughing and sneezing, which I didn't think much of because she had a runny nose for a few days previous.  We were discussing it and then I said it came on pretty quickly for a cold.  Then when I was getting her ready for bed Drew noticed that she had a rash all over her body.  So we took her to the hospital.   We only had to wait 15 minutes from the time we arrived before we were in the back talking to the health staff.  They gave her a teddy bear!  The first doctor that examined her was (Katie, I believe, all of the ER doctors went by their first names)  she said that she was pretty sure it was an allergic reaction and had the nurses give her some antihistamine.  But, she said she would like another doctor to look at her to get their opinion.  The second doctor said the same thing and that they want to send her up to pediatrics just to make sure everything is alright.  By that time her rash was going and she was much more relaxed.  She did throw up twice in the ER but had perked up significantly by this point.  After we saw the 3rd doctor, she said that it probably was an allergy but very rarely a virus can do that and sometimes even with an allergy when the medication wares off the reaction can spike again so just to be cautious she wanted to keep her over night.  I felt good about that seeing as I had been hospitalized at least 5 times in my life and I find it very comforting to know that there are doctors and nursing waiting to help if there is ever a problem.  The nurse or "room service" as I believe she called herself, welcomed me to the "bed and breakfast" and gave me towels, sheets, blankets, pajamas, toothbrushes for both me and Anna, and a sandwich for me.  The sandwich was not tasty being about 2 am at this point, it was probably made several hours before, darn socialism!  Anna slept very well and woke up very happy.  This is a picture of our room.

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In the morning she headed to the play room and enjoyed all of the toys and the outside play area as well.

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The doctors said she seemed to be doing very well and that because she was better, she needed to be put to work.  They put on a medical coat and set her to work. =)

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They did want to do some blood work which was very traumatic for Anna.  They couldn't get a vain at first, then I realized that whenever I need to have blood taken I am always poked and prodded a ton until I remember that the veins in my hand are the ones that seem to work the best.  So, I told them to try her hand.  They did and out spurted the blood.  Then, I felt pretty proud of myself and I remembered something my mother said a nurse had said to her when I was in the hospital.  The doctor was asking what my temperature was and my mother put her hand on my head and said 103.  They took my temperature and it was 103 and the nurse said "Never Question a mother!"  They weren't challenging me or anything but, I still felt pretty good about it (other than the fact Anna was clearly in pain and did not enjoy having blood work done).

They want her to come in for allergy testing and they could see her Thursday of that week!  More waiting!  But I decided to wait until we get back from America, its gives us something to look forward to=).

I just received an email from my friend who had an appointment on Monday, they want her to wait until Wed.  for testing as well!!!  There are definitely things that people wait for in the UK but when there are serious problems things happen quickly.  For all the negative press it gets, there are loads of great things that happen every day.  Think of one of the greatest minds of our time, Stephen Hawking who was diagnosed with ASL at age 21, said "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS; I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived"

As for the other experiences we have had, we found having a baby there wonderful and intimate.  Yet competent and with all the amenities of a high class hospital.

The day to day primary care doctors are wonderful.  We really have enjoyed everything.  Oh, and we heard on the radio before we left that they will most likely be changing from having everyone see the closest doctor to allowing people to see whichever doctor they want.  NHS has gotten a lot of bad press lately most of it but if you look at how satisfied people are actually reporting their services with the NHS you will note that:

Of hospital inpatients, 92% said they were satisfied with their treatment

87% of GP users were satisfied with their GP

87% of hospital outpatients were satisfied with the service they received

70% of Accident and Emergency department users reported being satisfied

The system has its problems sure, but I prefer NHS to US medical care thus far.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Coming out of her shell

Anna woke up one morning about a week or so ago and decided that she was going to come out of her shell a bit more.  She has started waving and saying hi to everyone, doesn't even matter if you are in a car.  Sometimes it doesn't even matter if anyone is around she just wants to make sure that people feel acknowledge where ever they are.   The other day she had a one baby parade in our neighborhood.  She was on her bike riding down the road and doing a Miss America wave to everyone!

As an extension of that she also feels that is what is yours (regardless of who you are) is hers and of course what is hers is well, hers.  This is most especially true of food.  However, she won't just take food from people.  She works hard to try and get them to give it to her.  Sometimes this is done charmingly.  Such as smiling and asking with a gesture.  Other times it is down right begging.  Her social skills are pretty interesting.  Ever since she was very young she would laugh to get people's attention, very cute.

Anna is very affectionate and cuddly, well toward me.  She doesn't really cuddle with Drew unless she is super tired or sick or upset or scared.  However, she used her social skills the other evening as he was putting her to sleep.  We usually stay in her room until she is close to being asleep or has fallen asleep.  When I put her to bed she cuddles with me and falls asleep.  When Drew puts her to bed he is not allowed in her bed most of the time or really to even  touch her much.  So sometimes he ends up surfing the internet on his phone while she is falling asleep.  The other night he was pleasantly surprised when she came and cuddled up with him.  She lay her head on his chest and then with a coy little grin peaked over at his phone to see what was going.    Drew caught on right away and put her right back down, but you have to admire a girl for trying.

Along with all this has come a fierce independence and a load of opinions.  Anna needed a new pair of shoes last week.  So, we set out shopping.   When I realized that places charge 25-30 pounds for a pair of baby shoes!!!!  Well, I was hardly going to pay more for her shoes than I would for my own.  But, I learned something as we went shopping.  Anna has strong opinions.  There were some shoes she refused to try on.  If I insisted she would resist and refuse to step down on the ground.  Then there were other shoes that she LOVED, laughed when she saw them.  Once they were on she watched herself in the mirror and jumped and danced around.  Drew brought her a few pairs home from the thrift shop, those were promptly thrown and forgotten.  I ended up find a pair at a local grocery store (the big ones sell clothes too) for only 6 pounds.  She didn't love them, screamed when I put them on her, but, once she saw them in the mirror she was happy with them.  I didn't expect a 14 month old to have some many opinions!

Finally, Anna has  fiercely independent and I would add determined.  If she sees something she wants don't try to take it from her or you will suffer a complete melt down.  For example, we were doing some ironing and she got a hold of one of her hangers.    I didn't like her having it, but we watched her closely with it.   She even insisted on sleeping with it, we got it back in the middle of the night as she was still clutching it in her hands after she had fallen asleep, sheesh!  Another example is food, some people say never wake a sleeping baby.  I might add, never try to take food from a 1 year old.  On Saturday we were at an activity where they had ice cream on sticks.  I got one that I was so kindly going to share with Anna or in her eyes (see her feelings on possessions above)  she had ice cream that she was not going to share with me.  I was able to get about 3 bites with screaming, she ate the rest, after eating pizza!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It is a winner!

A few years ago my sister in Law came up with a system of for rating toys called joy units.  She used this in terms of Christmas but it can be applied all year long for a full discussion of Joy units please see the following link: The reason I bring it up is because this week we scored  BIG with joy units.  I had taken Anna to a local indoor adventure play place called "Winkies" it is a really fun thing to do inside on a rainy day.  Cheaper than the pool and for Anna she can stay as long as she wants for under 3 pounds.  Once we got to Winkies she seemed very unsure of the whole place, we went right when they opened.  It looked alright nothing too impressive, but after about 10 minutes Anna was hooked!  She had such a great time!  She loved the climbing and the slides and the ball pits, but her favorite thing was the little cars that you can get inside and "drive" (really be pushed by yours truly), she stayed in there for at least an hour ~ no joke.  When I finally decided to leave at lunch time after 2 hours of being there, she was not happy at all.  She was pretty easily distracted and fell asleep in the 5 minute drive home, slept for about 3 hours! I didn't get any pictures at Winkies but we went to another indoor adventure place (Kidzplay) and here are some pictures from there: happyinballpit (Medium) drivingacar (Medium)

[flv: 320 240] Earlier in the week we had gone to an animal farm.  She is not too keen on the animals themselves but she loved the baby ride on tractors and cars, again not wanting to get off. This is the bravest she has been with animals to date: [flv: 320 240]  annaontractor (Medium) annawithhatontractor (Medium) annaontractorwithmommy (Medium) Here are some videos from the indoor play area at the farm [flv: 320 240] [flv: 320 240] So, after these two experiences I got to thinking that she would probably really love to have a little car herself.  I try not to buy her too many toys (as we already have quite a few, not much room, and for many other reasons).  But, I decided to check on Ebay and see what I could come up with.  I found a great little 4 wheeler with a parent handle (so I can push without leaning over).  It was located in york just 30 minutes away.  I decided to place a bid, we won it for just under 7 pounds  or two trips to Winkies!  Well, when we picked it up (Sat morning), we let Anna go for a ride around the neighborhood where we bought it.  She cried when she got off and we had to put it in the trunk.  Then we went off to the National Railway Museam, which is kind of like the new air and space museum near Dulles airport, only for trains of course.  Neither Drew nor I are very interested in trains but it was still a really neat museum.  It has all kinds of trains.  They even had a story time, which Anna learned some motions from and loves doing now.  Then there was the miniature train ride which was a blast as well.  All the while, Anna was able to ride around the museum with her new wheels.  We all had a great day. When we got home, Drew needed a nap after a long week, Anna was too excited to nap.  So,  Anna and I played downstairs.  What did she do you might ask?  She climbed onto and off of her new car and moved different parts around for 3 hours!!!  Then we took it for a spin outside to the neighbors house, who invited us in, but Anna was not about to get off of her bike merely to visit a friend. [flv: 320 240] [flv: 320 240] On Sunday we had much more of the same completely in love with her bike.  So I would say this bike has been worth at least 50 joy units for less than 7 pounds!  Great deal if I do say so myself.